• Deborah Yaffe

CryptoJane

Back in 2013, when the Bank of England announced that Jane Austen would be the face of the £10 note, little did we know that less than a decade later she’d become entangled with a different form of currency.


Yes, it now seems that people who are into Bitcoin have some kind of weird love-hate thing with Jane Austen.


Exhibit A: Last month, as blog readers will recall, the New York Times reported that Mayor Scott Conger of Jackson, Tenn., a member of a new clan of mayoral cryptocurrency enthusiasts, keeps his personal Bitcoin wallet in a box disguised as a copy of Pride and Prejudice – even though Conger is not an Austen fan.


Exhibit B: And now an intrepid writer for Literary Hub has discovered an Austen reference in a rap video made by Heather Morgan, half of the New York couple charged recently with laundering billions of dollars in stolen Bitcoin.


Morgan raps under the stage name Razzlekhan, and the video in question, “Versace Bedouin,” is astonishingly terrible. Morgan wears reflective sunglasses, thigh-high black stockings, a gold lamé jacket with a leopard-print scarf, and a baseball cap reading “0FCKS.” She cavorts in front of the New York Stock Exchange and in a room illuminated only by black light. Her lyrics are lame, and she has no discernible sense of rhythm.


Amid the chaotic tedium, a familiar, albeit misspelled, name appears in the onscreen transcription: “F*** yo Jane Austin romance,” Morgan raps (at 3:07) from a bathtub filled with – pearls? Bubbles? “Rather be taking a taxidermy class,” she adds, pointing to a stuffed crocodile, in an apparent reference to her alternate rap persona, “Crocodile of Wall Street.”


Morgan does not elaborate upon her connection to Our Jane, much less explain her antipathy, but I had high hopes of learning more when I happened across this detail in news accounts of the couple’s arrest: “Prosecutors say they found . . . encrypted devices, false identities and books with secret compartments cut into the pages.”


Again with the hollowed-out books!


Alas, however, Google-assisted inspection of the photographs included in court papers suggests that the books in question (scroll down to page 20) are a history of the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War and an obscure 1910 story collection called The Water Goats and Other Troubles.


But hey. They say crypto is the wave of the future, so maybe next time it’ll be Mansfield Park.

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